Wheeler Grenfell has developed close working relationships with completely independent financial advisors and planners. Consequently, our clients have access not only to our own professional services, but also to independent advice regarding:
- Establishing and operating their own Self Managed Superannuation Funds;
- Retirement planning;
- Managing their investments in retirement; and
- Ensuring their compliance requirements are met.
In addition to providing advice, Wheeler Grenfell can administer a client's superannuation and provide assistance with accounting and taxation services, or can audit those funds.
Wheeler Grenfell and the SMSF Adviser Network
Over the past few years, Australians have become all too familiar with news reports of shonky financial services operators mismanaging their clients' investment portfolios and of individuals losing their retirement savings due to the unscrupulous activities of their financial advisers.
In response to such stories and in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, the Federal Parliament legislated to tighten the Corporations Regulations 2001 in an attempt to better regulate the financial services industry and to ensure financial advisers operate in the best interest of their clients. The reforms were due to be implemented on 1 July 2012, with Accountants receiving a four-year exemption from the legislative changes, thus enabling them to provide their clients with superannuation advice, specifically in relation to Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs), without having to be licenced under the Australian Financial Services (AFS) licencing regime.
What has changed?
On 1 July 2016, the "Accountants' Exemption" to the Corporations Regulations 2001 was repealed. As a result, in order to provide advice to our clients regarding a "financial product" – including superannuation and SMSFs – accountants are now required to have their own AFS licence or to become authorised representatives of another AFS licence holder.
How will Wheeler Grenfell advise me now that the Accountants' Exemption has been repealed?
In order to keep providing you with the same level of service you have received from Wheeler Grenfell in the past, a number of our team have become authorised representatives of the SMSF Advisers Network (SAN). This means that our Accountants can provide advice to you regarding your superannuation and your SMSF under the SAN's AFS Licence.
Specifically, as authorised representatives of the SAN, we are licenced to advise our clients about:
- Establishing an SMSF;
- Commencing a pension (both Account based and TTR);
- Making contributions (including concessional, non-concessional and in-specie contributions);
- Rollovers of existing superannuation structures;
- Limited Recourse Borrowing Arrangements; and
- Winding up an SMSF.
Furthermore, after analysing your investor risk profile, we are also licenced to provide clients with asset class investment strategy advice.
What does this mean for me and my SMSF?
The sort of advice we can provide to our clients as authorised representatives of the SAN closely resembles what Wheeler Grenfell was able to provide under the Accountants' Exemption, so in that respect very little has changed.
What will affect you and your SMSF, however, are practical changes. Specifically, we are now required to use particular documents when advising you in order to comply with the terms of the SAN's licence conditions, and the way you are billed for any advice we provide will also change.
Will I need to complete a whole lot of paperwork?
The short answer to that question is, fortunately, no.
That said, when you seek advice regarding superannuation or your SMSF, you will be required to complete a Fact Finder. Since we are your Accountants, we will be able to complete most of the information on your behalf and then provide the Fact Finder to you for your verification and signature.
It's a compliance requirement – a bit like making sure you have signed your Electronic Lodgement Declaration authorising us to lodge your Income Tax Return – but once we have your completed Fact Finder we can then produce a Statement of Advice tailored to your individual circumstances.
Will getting advice take longer than it used to?
Again, the short answer to that question is no.
One of the advantages to becoming authorised representatives of the SAN is that our Accountants have access to specifically designed software that enables us to produce a Statement of Advice complying with all the regulatory requirements. All of the scenarios we are most commonly asked to advise on – such as making a superannuation contribution or commencing a pension – are covered by the templates we use.
Once we complete the Statement of Advice it is sent to the SAN, who hold the AFS licence, for approval. In our experience, the team at the SAN are not only very prompt in reviewing and returning documentation to Wheeler Grenfell, but they are also particularly helpful if we are required to produce a Statement of Advice that does not fall within one of the common scenarios mentioned above.
So why will the way I am billed change?
The reason the way you are billed has changed is that you will receive and invoice from the SMSF Advisers Network (SAN), not Wheeler Grenfell, because the SAN is the AFS licence holder. Wheeler Grenfell is then paid as an authorised representative of the SAN.
In practical terms, you will receive an invoice on a different letterhead from what you are used to and will make payment into a different bank account, but the end result will be the same.
Is there anything else I should be aware of?
Yes. Frequently, clients come to us seeking business planning, taxation and superannuation advice at the same time. As you already know, we are more than happy to provide you with any of the advice you require, but since the removal of the Accountants' Exemption please be aware that any advice we give regarding superannuation (which is classed as a "financial product") and SMSFs must be done separately, as an authorised representative of the SAN, and will have be given in a complying Statement of Advice after we have completed a Fact Finder.
It will probably take a while for all of us to get used to the new regime and to adjust to the idea of having to wear one hat to provide superannuation advice and another hat for other advice. That said, we researched all the options available to Wheeler Grenfell prior to the Accountants' Exemption being repealed, and we believe that joining the SAN represents the most seamless and cost-effective way of continuing to provide you with the range and level of service we strive to provide.
What if I have more questions?
Please ask! Call the office on 9034 8600 or send us an email – we are here to help you.
Back to our services